NHL Playoffs Betting Odds: San Jose Sharks vs Los Angeles Kings
Thursday, April 14, 2011
by Bodog Sportsbook
The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings are already bitter division rivals; now they’ll face each other again in an NHL Playoffs Betting matchup as they hook up in the first round of the NHL Playoffs.
San Jose (48-25-9) won its final game of the regular season, but it lost the two games before that—so it doesn’t have a ton of momentum entering the postseason. If there’s a positive sign, though, it’s that San Jose discovered a scoring touch towards the end of the season.
The San Jose Sharks struggled to score through most of the year, but they went on an unexpected tear over the last three weeks of the year. Patrick Marleau had 10 goals and 21 points over his final 13 games. He’s one of three stars—Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley—that underperformed this season and will be counted on to step up during the postseason.
If they don’t, San Jose’s hopes rest squarely on Antti Niemi’s shoulders. Niemi won a Stanley Cup with Chicago last year and, after a slow start, he delivered San Jose some world-class goaltending this season. Niemi went 22-5-3 with a 2.10 goals-against average and .927 save percentage after the All-Star Break.
Los Angeles (46-30-6) collapsed down the stretch. The Los Angeles Kings could have secured fourth place—and home ice—in the playoffs with a pair of wins last week, but they lost three of their last four games and tumbled to seventh.
It’s not entirely surprising, as the Kings have been ravaged by injuries. Two of the three players from the top line—Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams—went down in late March, and neither is expected back anytime soon. Kopitar is done for the year, while Williams is questionable to start the series.
The Los Angeles Kings have good, but inexperienced goaltending. Jonathan Quick should be much better than he was in last year’s playoffs, though, when he put up a few stinkers. He won’t be so wide-eyed this time around.
San Jose and Los Angeles squared off six times this season, with the teams winning three games each. Two of L.A.’s victories came in shootouts.
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